Omega problem - caused by dealer? - Dave Citroen
Hello all,

This on behalf of a colleague who has a M-reg Vauxhall Omega 2.0 auto with about 74K on the clock.

He's just taken it into a main dealer as a last resort as it was sometimes cutting at low speed/idle, who diagnosed a blocked rocker breather and cleaned this out/fitted a new rocker gasket (at a cost of £360). When road-testing it after, the mechanic from the dealer said the car "hydrauliced(?) on them" and now they will need to take the head off to see what has gone wrong (cost and time off the road undefined). Their suggestion was that oil has got into the engine past the spark plugs.

Not being a mechanic, the question is: is this a spooky co-incidence or did they put it back together wrong and cause the problem? If it is any help, the car passed emissions for an MOT a couple of days ago, always started first time and was not using any oil. The only problem was this intermitent stalling, and nothing was showing on the diagnostics.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Omega problem - caused by dealer? - Andrew Moorey (Tune-Up)
Firstly was the cam cover replaced or just cleaned? £360 for an hours work seems mighty high even if you allow for new gasket and hoses plus a can of solvent. If a new cover was fitted that may account for a slightly bigger chunk. How does oil get past the plugs? If they are gastight then it would be reasonable to assume they would not allow oil leaking out of the cam cover to get into the bores and not in sufficient quantity to hydraulic (sic) the engine, and why was it leaking anyway?
I think you will have to get an independent party involved to examine the damage, the AA or RAC may be able to help, to ascertain what has gone wrong and whether it is a spooky coincidence or malpractise.
Do keep us informed.
Omega problem - caused by dealer? - Dave Citroen
Okay, dealer has changed story and now says that the oil pickup pipe was blocked with sludge and this is why the engine stopped (presumably seized). "Could have happened anytime" apparently.

Any thoughts?

Omega problem - caused by dealer? - Dave N
Engines don't normally just seize without warning. Has the cambelt snapped, seeing as they reckoned the head will have to come off to 'take a look'. Assuming it has regular oil changes, then there's very little chance of sludge, certainly not enough to block the pickup pipe. Don't know if the Omega has a low oil pressure warning that cuts the engine if it's too low, as this may have been what was happening with your poor low rev running, in which case they could have a point.
Omega problem - caused by dealer? - Andrew Moorey (Tune-Up)
It's possible that during the cleaning process a quantity of carbon sludge was dislodged and picked up in the strainer. They may also have used an engine flush which runs the danger in a severely sludged engine of creating the same effect. A problem caused by extended oil changes and cheap fuel.(As a rule if the engine looks reasonably clean inside the filler cap a flush is ok, if thick with sludge then not advisable.) However I digress. Was an engine oil change undertaken at the time? If so they may have flushed it. Has the previous service history a lot of gaps which would aggravate the situation?
Keep in touch

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Omega problem - caused by dealer? - Dave Citroen
Well, the car is still at the garage having the crank repaired and refitted.....

The car has had a yearly or 12,000 mile oil change (as part of service) for the last 4 years and had a full service history from its (only) previous owner. As it is not my car I don't know whether it has ever had an engine flush as part of this, but I think it is run mostly on supermarket petrol -- annual mileage is currently only about 8-9,000.

So, unless the garage had just engine-flushed/changed the oil while doing the rocker cover gaskets then I guess it will be co-incidence.....

Value my car